Spectrum auction ends with bids worth ₹65,789 cr in 5 days
Around 60% of mobile airwaves in value terms remained unsold in what was billed as the country’s largest spectrum auction where ₹5.63 lakh crore worth of spectrum was put up for salebusiness Updated: Oct 06, 2016 23:37 IST
Telecom spectrum auction ended Thursday with bids worth ₹65,789 crore over the last five days, but this was only about 40% of the total worth of spectrum that was placed on the block.
There were no takers for the expensive 700Mhz and 900 Mhz bands during the course of the five days. The 700MHz band alone was expected to fetch ₹4 lakh crore for the government.
“Bids worth about ₹65,789 crore were received at the end of 31 rounds for 965 Mhz of spectrum out of total 2,354.55 Mhz put for auction,” sources said.
Around 60% of mobile airwaves in value terms remained unsold in what was billed as the country’s largest spectrum auction where ₹5.63 lakh crore worth of spectrum was put up for sale from October 1.
Earlier in the day, total bids had dipped a bit to about ₹63,325 crore at the end of 26th round as compared to previous closing. Activity, however, picked up pace in the later rounds. Each round today was of 45-minute duration, unlike 60 minutes on the previous days.
The bidding activity took place only in few circles with interest continuing to be largely around 1800 MHz and 2300 MHz that can be used by operators to provide 4G services.
Commenting on the auction, Kumar Mangalam Birla, chairman, Idea Cellular said: “With an aggregate spectrum holding of over 890 MHz (FDD and TDD technology bands) including acquisition in the current auction of 349.20 MHz, Idea has filled all of its spectrum coverage requirements... for the next decade. The company will now focus on expanding its wireless broadband presence primarily on 4G LTE technology.” Idea Cellular is the third largest cellular services provider in the country.
Industry also showed interest in 2100 Mhz (3G/4G) band, 2500 Mhz (4G) band and 800 Mhz (2G/4G) bands.
The debt-ridden telecom industry was cautious in the auction and opted for low-priced spectrum that will help them improve mobile service quality as well offer next generation services in the world’s second largest telecom market.
As per rating agency ICRA, the consolidated debt level of the industry stood at around ₹3,80,000 crore in December 2015 against ₹2,90,000 crore in March 2014.
(With HTC inputs from Mumbai)